History of Land Rover Series IIA and Smiths Gauges

History of Land Rover Series IIA and Smiths Gauges

In 1961, Land Rover launched the Series IIA.  Visually, there was a minimal difference between the Series II and IIA, but under the bonnet was a new 2.25-litre diesel engine.  Within the Land Rover fraternity, the Series IIA is widely regarded as the hardiest model ever built.  Globally, in the 1960s, the Land Rover became the ultimate 4x4 off-road vehicle.

Between 1961 and 1971, nearly 600,000 Series IIA Land Rovers were manufactured, of which 70% were exported (in the 1960s 90% of the 4x4 vehicles in Australia were Land Rovers).  During that time there were small modifications to the design such as moving the headlamps into the wings; a modification which applied to all models of Land Rover.

With the Land Rover being increasingly used in difficult and challenging terrains all over the world, the excellent reliability was an important factor in its success.  This also applied to all parts including the instrumentation (eg Speedometer, Water/Fuel Gauge).  As with the Series I and Series II Land Rover, the gauges were designed and manufactured by Smiths and badged as Land Rover.  The original drawings and manufacturing instructions are still held by CAI today.

In the 1960s, the Land Rover had become iconic with any off-road activities.  This is partly due to the wide exposure of Land Rover's in 1960s movies such as Born Free (1966).  Indeed, in movie scenes where an off-road vehicle was being filmed, it was likely to be a Land Rover.


Sales of the Land Rover Series IIA peaked in 1969-70 when over 60,000 were built annually.  In 1971, the Series IIA was replaced by the Series III.

For further information on gauges for the Land Rover or any other classic car, please contact us on:

Phone:  44 1639 732200

Email:  [email protected]

Via our website


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Tags: Land Rover, Series IIA, SMITHS

Categories: Case Histories

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